England manager Gareth Southgate named his 23-man World Cup squad on Wednesday afternoon – but there was no place for Joe Hart.
The Manchester City goalkeeper – who spent last season on loan at West Ham – was omitted from the panel as Southgate opted to take the relatively inexperienced Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope in his place.
Speaking to the media upon the squad announcement, Southgatge said that Hart’s form over the course of the season simply didn’t merit inclusion in the squad to travel to Russia, insisting that the three players he has called up had all shown better form in the campaign just gone.
Southgate on keepers: “The decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season.”
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) May 16, 2018
News of Hart’s omission broke on Tuesday, with Southgate believed to have informed the 31-year-old of his decision 24 hours earlier. While further reports suggested that Hart took the call well, it has also been alleged that he is frustrated with West Ham manager David Moyes for not giving him a chance to play his way into the World Cup reckoning, despite enduring a season riddled with errors with the Premier League side.
Hart’s club future is also up in the air right now. He will return to Man City at the end of his loan spell – but with Pep Guardiola making it clear that Hart is not a part of his plans, he will probably need to spend the summer finding a new club for himself.